Tuesday, April 21, 2009

[Misc] Sun and Oracle

Now it finally happened: Oracle bought Sun for 7,4 billion dollar. It sure is a little bit surprising, as the deal with IBM seemed to be settled already. From a developers point of view, the Oracle deal might be better for the community, allthough it also has certain risks.

For IBM Java is strategically very important, insofar Java would have been "save" with IBM. Additionally IBM has developed (similar to Sun) a solid Open Source strategy over the last decade which would also fit to Sun. However, a significant amount of their product lines would have overlapped: Both have Middleware products like Websphere and the Sun Glassfish project portfolio. Both have a series of database products: mySQL at Suns side and of course the DB2 line on IBMs side, and a similar story on the OS front: the probably superior Solaris versus IBM AIX. Finally Sun has the Netbeans IDE as central development tool whereas IBM has Eclipse. I doubt that IBM would have had a lot of interest in doubling all these product lines. Not to mention the Sun hardware.

Now, on the paper Oracle looks much more "compatible" to Sun. True, there are some overlaps in the middleware section. Most "afraid" might be the mySQL folks, as Oracle already showed some hostility against mySQL in the past. Then again, when they own the product, they probably can sell it in their database portfolio in the "low-end" market. Java is also important for Oracle and probably even more important is the operating system Solaris and the Sun hardware and a tight integration to e.g. the Oracle database. With these assets Oracle can offer "end-to-end" solutions starting from hardware, operating system, storage, solutions, database, middleware, web-frameworks and integrated development environment.

What worries me a little bit with Oracle is the lack of experience in the Open Source community. Oracle is in my opinion a rather closed shop compared to IBM and Sun. Maybe Oracle can learn a little bit from Sun's experience here. However, my fazit is, that there is significant potential in the combination of Sun and Oracle (probably more than with Sun/IBM) but also some significant risks in terms of openness and for certain parts of the Sun product line. I am particularly looking forward in terms of the consequences for the Open Source middleware-portfolio, Java and mySQL.

Update: Larry Dignan from zdnet blog writes about mysql:
"Oracle gets to kill MySQL. There’s no way Ellison will let that open source database mess with the margins of his database. MySQL at best will wither from neglect. In any case, MySQL is MyToast."
Well, I would not bet on that (but probably would not start a new project with mySQL either...), but it is for sure an option.


Prof. Dr. Stefan Edlich said...

True. I wonder when we will see the first real comment from Oracle. Up to now I can only see this single line on the mySQL webpage:

"Oracle to Buy Sun
20 April 2009 — Sun Microsystems and Oracle Corporation announced today they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun common stock for $9.50 per share in cash. The transaction is valued at approximately $7.4 billion, or $5.6 billion net of Sun's cash and debt"

They might be still in shock...

But it might be wise for Oracle to use mySQL as an entry point for selling. Killing mySQL would push users that can't pay upfront to PostgreSQL.

Alexander Schatten said...

Yes, I see that point too. I believe, that mySQL would not be a problem for Oracle, just additional business. People who want Open Source software use it, then you can as well make money with consulting...

But this is exactly my issue with Oracle. Somehow I do not trust them to be rational ;-)

Prof. Dr. Stefan Edlich said...

I found something new:
MySQL CEO, Mickos says:
"They can kill the business. But I don’t think they will. Larry Ellison is smart. MySQL was getting around 70,000 downloads a day when I left. It’s an amazing grip on young developers. Having MySQL makes business sense for Oracle."

Prof. Dr. Stefan Edlich said...

And an even more nice comment from Cay Horstmann:
(please paste this together)


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This is really surprising. thanks for the information.